Saturday, August 17, 2002
Unlocking the door and sniffing the mildy stale stale air put her at ease. She was in her known world. Directing a bridge game at the local club had become routine on Friday evenings. As she passes, she hesitates to devine the thermostat setting that would provoke the least complaint. A room full of mostly women between the ages of 45 and 85 can be a tough group to keep comfortable. But wheedling the reluctant A/C system and tending to getting out the game equipment and starting the coffee was all pretty routine. The complete mystery of how many tables to set up challenges, but if you think there should be six, set up for seven, with an eye for the configuration if you have to go down to five tables. So while negotiating that the bridge players start trickling in.
Lois Lemke was first. An aging ingenue, still in stilletto heels at 70 something and deaf as a post, Lois was quite a character. Over the years of conversational snatches, her friends still have not sorted out when she was married to which husband. She claims to have been married seven times, and in all the years of idle chatter and relentless name dropping, they still have not found how it could be a mere seven exhusbands.
She lets Lois chatter as the coffee finishes brewing and the bare essentials of the game are entered into the computer file for the evening's game. While selling entries, she was quietly confident that the game would provide a pleasant evening. And best yet, as the entries sold, and game time approached, what a delight! Seven full tables. That is a very easy game to keep moving. Mike and Fred are in the kitchen area discussing bridge systems with an intensity that is normal for them. The only odd thing is that Mikes voice usually carries through the room, and she notes as the conversation continues, that she is not overhearing and tuning out the whole thing. Oh bother! Perhaps her hearing is going as well.
Lois' partner Val has settled in with Lois and Mike and Fred join them at table two. Lois has never played with Val before. What a match! An aging widower for Lois to try her charms on! And neither of them have a lick of discipline at the bridge table. Not only will the opponents have no clue what they are up to, they won't either. But Lois' head tilted, eye batting is obvious enough!
Friday August 16, 2002
Click on pic to see larger version
The long stretch of perfectly straight road, undoubtedly constructed along a section line, through low growth vegetation whispered to me of climbs up rocky buttes to eagles nests in my youth. The geology was similar as well. The rocky protrusions from the flat plain are visible for miles, and seem to hold my attention for quite a long time. I can almost hear my parents talking about the forces that pushed such odd forms above the plain. "That is probably an old volcanic core, see how the lava flows and mountains that used to surround it have blown or washed away over the eons?" After you have grown up driving or riding along roads as straight and flat as CO 13 heading up toward the Wyoming border, they hold a magic that people more attuned to conventionally pretty scenery do not appreciate.
My cousin's child is returning to school this year reluctantly, won't wear his new clothes, almost misses the bus the first day. Adolescent angst is not to be underrated. Nor is the capacity to change our environment just by "adjusting an attitude." My mother moved out to the flats of Eastern Colorado in 1957 with much moaning and groaning about leaving her friends and interests behind. And there was more moaning and groaning about returning to OK, after seven years. Even now she complains about driving along the forested I 12, which is no longer quite an uninterrupted Southern forest, but she misses the vistas even yet.
I too am going back to school very reluctantly. The things I used to do to make it interesting are eluding me. I don't care if I have a pass rate of 40% or 80%. I don't care if my students think they are wasting their time in the mathematics classroom. I don't want to teach math by having students write journals, or sing songs. And I care very much that they don't believe me when I tell them the only way to "get it" is to work at it. But there are those who work and work and work, but ineffectively, and still accomplish little.
So why is it that as I drove along Colorado 13 as well as some of the highways just north of Rollins, Wyoming, why was I wondering if they needed a math teacher? What made me think that a Texas tent parked on the prairie might be precisely what I want for the next few years? And if it can be supported by teaching math, I'll teach some math!
Those roads call out to me. The sage brush, the prairie dogs, the eagle weaving through long jet tracks in the endless blue sky, and the wind, the rough, dusty wind calls out to me. Can I hold those places in my heart as I fight the blahhhs for yet another year?
The times of our lives are so short when compared to geology and stars. Our tribulations are as nothing, but our opportunity to appreciate the beauty and majesty of it all is boundless.Thursday, August 15, 2002
I'll get back to this later... Talk about our institutions run amok! How can you put justice and our court system in the same sentence and keep a straight face?
Well, on a good (calm quiet day) I'd get back to building up a head of steam on the original topic. But today, Marianne's sky is falling. Chicken Little was right, you know. She ask as she left if God was trying to test her in some way.
I got home at 2:08 from the bridge game, so the car exchange could be made at 2:15. But, looming over our heads was the odd reaction from (was Cardinal, I've forgotten the name of the company now) Thom's work. Sunday morning when he had that accident, there was a mandatory safety meeting at work at 8 am. [Gee, that sounds odd...Sunday morning? Do you suppose the meeting was Monday, and he could have gone??] Monday they were busy trying to get the car towed and get estimates on the damage. SO Tuesday, he went to work with his records of where he was Sunday Morning. Well, it turns out that missing the mandatory meeting was the last straw with his employment, and he got word today that he had been sacked. So after Marianne has written checks on the automatic deposit, they have gone back and rescinded the deposit. Marianne looks like the world just came to an end. Thom is ready to head back to argue his case. Anyway, he has his tools packed up, and they left to return equipment, or whatever. Thom's attitude is "I told them a long time ago, this is a job, not my life" Hmmm...
And I was just hearing something today about how men and women view their jobs differently, and women, even those who have poked tiny perforations in the glass ceiling, do not park their "values and personalities" at the curb as they go to work. Of course I have no attribution for that, but it was an interesting piece on ATC (All Things Considered) yesterday evening, I suspect. Was an interesting idea then, and now I'm seeing at least one male acting, or at least proclaiming, counter to the "man thing." But be that as it may, loosing a job is almost always a body blow to the ego, and Thom doesn't need that. Marianne certainly doesn't need that.
AND just as a further parenthetic note in the perils of Pauline existence of my kids, Marianne tells me this morning Thom was in a car wreck last night as well. He wasn't driving this time, but he was a passenger in a wreck that sounds like one of those caused by a bad case of testosterone poisoning on the road. I'm sure glad I was playing bridge and not aware of all this commotion today.
The sun will set, the sun will rise. Tomorrow is another day.
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Ok, ok, I've got a 30 trial use of the premium html goodies and cannot see where to attach music and pictures, so what good is it anyway?
This morning the NYT online had an article which caught my eye. In the Arts section, they had an article on the fellow who is scanning moths with incredible resolution, and then making these incredible prints of them. I saw some of this work featured in the National Geographic not too long ago as well. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, look for it. I tried to find a link, but couldn't come up with one easily. I'll work on it again later.
Nabokov's books often have moth and butterfly themes, because he was in addition to being a writer, a scientist who did ground breaking work with butterflies. (This I discovered while reading The Atlantic, preparing to get a rejection letter from them. That was the fastest rejection slip anyone every got! And then I found a copy of one of his books in Tania's library.)
And moths are used as a literary symbol of the human problems in finding romantic love. We are attracted as moths to the candle to persons and relationships we know are going to cause pain and grief. Yet we continue to choose to accept the price of pain for the hope of happiness in a brief respite from whatever other demons we perceive to be in pursuit!
But unlike the moth, who is ultimately going to be destroyed by his spiraling flight into the flame, isn't the acceptance of the possibility of romance really just an affirmation of the joy of living? "To Life!" The human condition can be summarized glumly, "We come into this life alone, we go out alone." But in reaching out for the possibility of intimate connections we are recognizing the lovely and lovable in those around us, in ourselves and in the amazing world in which we find ourselves. But I may be guilty of "grass is greener" thinking here, having managed to avoid much intimacy in my life.
Moths have flitted in and out of my attention lately so I figured a daily rant on bugs was not altogether a bad thing!
This from GWB-- the friend I stayed with in SLC on the great american road trip. Thanks Gail for finding the link for me. I also get the daily headlines, but know that when I try to send them on some are irritated to have to become members.
The problem is that you can't get there unless you become a "member". Membership is free, and you can read almost the whole paper online. You can't do the crossword puzzle tho :(( That's separate and has a fee. :(((((
So you see, SOMEONE is reading your rants!
Tuesday August 13, 2002
Erich Fromm made mention of the linguistic poverty of English when it comes to affective behavior. So if we use the world love to cover a multitude of emotional states, what would those be? Love can be lust, wanting of the use of some body to partake of the sensual pleasures available to the species. Love can be wrapped in social/famialial connotations. The picture is of a statue of Ruth and Naomi, "Your people will be my people..", "he ain't heavy, he's my brother." And love can be the friendship of looking out on the world as through shared eyes, seeking goals in common. But it is also the recognition of the full personhood in each other, distinct from self, but loved and accepted as whole, separate and worthwhile. That love is sometimes achieved in great marriages, or is that a myth?
Allow me the public exhibition of some of the loves in my life. I think after all these years I still love my ex husband. If that love were dissected into 10 parts it would have to be about 0.5 part of the first sort. Sorry Carlo, I'm not lusting after your body. It's probably 8 parts of the tribal thing. You're the parent of my children, and part of what made them the wonderful people they are today. And the other 1.5 of the mix is that recognition that for all our differences he is a good man, and tried in his own way to do right by us, and for himself. Not easy to do.
Quentin is a love that is 9 parts tribal, and one part recognition of his unique self. I'll like the original person a lot better when it speaks intelligible English to me! At this point I just know he is trying really hard to tell me somethings, and I JUST don't understand!
And I just cannot bring myself to talk publicly about the love that is largest part lust, wanting, and in my case total frustration. So I'll leave that out, except to say that it is in the mix as well.
Reading a bit every day from OVID's Metamorphoses the mythology has lot of stories about how the lust of the gods plays out among mortals. The Jove will change himself and take what mortal or nymph he desires by force of will, and Juno will wreak havoc with her jellous rage. Sometimes she has to bide her time. And Jove comes and moves the victims of both his lust and her rage into some constellation or other. Is the love of man and woman always so "star crossed"? How discouraging to think so!